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The BitFenix Shinobi is a chassis designed with budget consumers in mind. This chassis is clear proof that a cheap price does not necessarily mean cheap construction. All too often, budget cases feel flimsy and the design not fully thought through. Luckily, the Shinobi has neither of those problems.
Unlike most cases on the market, the interior of the windowed and non-windowed versions of the Bitfenix Shinobi have minor differences. The internal structure is the same, but the windowed version includes tool-less drive mounting while the non-windowed does not. Otherwise, there are no major differences between the two models, so this review can easily be used to get a good idea of the non-windowed version as well as the windowed.
The chassis itself is a combination of a steel frame with plastic front/top panels and feels very solid. The painted black interior is a nice touch that we normally do not expect to see with budget chassis. Unfortunately, there are no USB 3.0 ports, but there are four USB 2.0 ports as well as headphone/mic ports that are easily accessable on the top of the chassis.
There is room for an impressive six 120mm fans in the non-windowed version, and seven 120mm fans in the windowed version. All the intake fans are equipped with dust filters, which require the removal of the front panel for cleaning access. To see the full specifications for the windowed version of the BitFenix Shinobi, expand the section below:
The BitFenix Shinobi has a fairly subtle look to it, and is almost identical in size to the Lancool PC-K7B. At Puget Systems, we tend to prefer this over the flashy, over-the-top look that some chassis manufactures go for – but as always looks are largely a personal preference. The chassis itself is steel, but the top and front panels are plastic. The plastic has a rubber coating over it that BitFenix calls "SofTouch". This finish is resistant to picking up fingerprints and appears to be decently durable.
As a system builder, we tend to steer clear of the type of tool-less mounting used in the Shinobi as they can rarely survive the rigors of shipping. Shipping can cause suprising amounts of damage under the right conditions as we've shown in the past in other articles such as "Dealing with shipping damage", so we try to avoid anything that can potentially cause problems. Luckily, all the tool-less drive mounting is easily removable in the BitFenix Shinobi so it is not a big problem. This allows us at Puget Systems to use screws to securely install the drives purchased with the machine, but leave the tool-less mounting in the un-used bays to allow our customer's the convenience of tool-less mounting for any drives they install themselves.
While we examine the interior, we will largely be looking at the tool-less mounting with end-users in mind. All the bays have standard screw holes for typical screw mounting so we will not be closely looking at the screw-based mounting.
Overall, we were very impressed with this chassis. Normally we end up with a long list of things we don't like about a chassis (the big cons for us are usually things like tool-less mounting which is great for end-users, but would not so great for shipping) but in this chassis that list was fairly short.
Given the cost, this chassis would be an excellent choice for a budget-oriented system. The large number of hard drive bays with intake fans directly in front of them also makes this great for systems that need large amounts of data storage. It does not have any acoustic dampening though, so it will not be as quiet as a chassis that was specifically designed to be quiet (like the Antec P183 V3 or Antec Mini P180)
- The tool-less mounting isn't great, but is easily removable allowing for the best of both worlds.
- Stock fans will work great for most configurations.
- Plenty of fan mounts to provide additional cooling if necessary.
- Top and front panels are easily removable, but don't feel like they will fall off.
- Finish does not easily show fingerprints or dust.
- Painted all-black interior.
- No vibration dampening for the 3.5" drives.
- No ESATA or USB 3.0 ports.
- Fan filters are very restrictive.